As with any anthology, especially an unthemed one, the contents have the potential to be a mixed bag, and this year was no different. Some of the stories felt a little flat, while others showed potential. However, the one that really gripped me and had the strength I was looking for was “Beneath the Surface of Two Kills” by Shauna O’Meara, which followed a hunter who is struggling with the ethics of killing. It was a gripping story with a strong protagonist that wasted no time getting to its emotional impact.
The essays are rather middling, with a pedantic list from Hubbard and an essay that is mostly direct quotes from previous essays in the series by Robert Silverberg. It all felt rather uninspired.
Perhaps it is a sign that the future of the genre is not where my tastes lie, but I didn’t find this volume as gripping as I had hoped. Fans of the series will enjoy the new crop of stories, but for people looking for polished, exciting tales, this book may be worth a skip.